Marlboro High School’s Dylan Kaufman has accomplished a lot to be proud of this boys’ basketball season.
On Jan. 17 at Christian Brothers Academy, late in the first half, Kaufman buried a jumper in the middle of the paint, scoring his 1,000th career point.
Two weeks later at Middletown High School South, in the fourth quarter, Kaufman blew by his man and laid the ball in. With the basket, Kaufman raised his career point total to 1,121, breaking Marlboro’s program record of 1,119. Rodney Solomon set that scoring record in 2005.
But since 1,000 points and the program scoring record were not enough, Kaufman also became Marlboro’s all-time leading rebounder this winter. The 6-6 center has built a strong case to be considered the best player in his school’s history.
“It all clicked for him,” said Marlboro coach Mike Nausedas. “He’s a large presence in the paint.”
“I’ll have this for the rest of my life,” Kaufman said. “I can tell my kids about it.”
The senior captain is hoping to create more memories over the next month. Marlboro is 13-10 this year, and 7-1 in its last eight games.
Kaufman’s sidekick, junior Alex Ratner, missed three weeks in January. But he’s back now, and thriving. Ratner is scoring almost as many points per game, 17.2, as Kaufman, who records 17.8.
With both guys, the Mustangs will be a dangerous No. 13 seed in the NJSIAA Central Jersey, Group 4 sectional tournament. They are scheduled to play fourth-seeded Montgomery High School in the state tournament’s first round on Feb. 25.
“I don’t think teams want to see us. Everybody knows we underachieved. We started 5-1 and after Alex’s injury, we fell off the map,” Kaufman said. “Then we made a playoff push the last couple weeks, so we’re dangerous.”
“We know we should be a much higher seed,” Kaufman added. “So going in, we aren’t scared of anyone.”
Kaufman will present a matchup problem for even the best defensive teams. The 6-6 senior is a true center.
He plays with his back to the basket and powers his way to layups and free throws. But he can also step out and hit a midrange jumper. Kaufman is shooting 48 percent from the midrange this winter.
It’s an old school game. Most teams aren’t built to defend a pure center, since so few exist in today’s game.
Kaufman has also mastered his style over four years as a varsity starter.
“He has a knack for scoring and getting fouled,” Nausedas said. “And if he misses a shot, he just goes that much harder after the rebound.”
The senior is especially adept at positioning himself close to the basket. This allows him to catch the ball, make one move and create a high percentage look.
“He really figured out how to use his body on the court,” Nausedas said. “Posting up close to the basket, as opposed to catching it too far out.”
Kaufman’s game still has a place at the collegiate level, too. Some Division 3 schools are recruiting him to play, including The College of New Jersey.
But the senior is not sure if he wants to play collegiate basketball.
“I have to see what’s best for my situation,” Kaufman said. “I have time to decide. I just have to talk it over with my family.”
Kaufman does know that he wants to stay in sports. Wherever he goes to college, he plans on majoring in sports management.
“I’ll hopefully work in one of the major leagues one day, like the NBA or NFL,” he said. “I can take that business side of things and combine it with my love of sports.”